4 February 2016 by Michael Holder

Car recycling scheme launched for UK’s ‘orphan’ ELVs

A new scheme to aid the capture of ‘orphan vehicles’ for recycling was launched by the British automotive industry yesterday (February 2).

The new take-back scheme will enable consumers to recycle their 'orphan' vehicles for free

The new take-back scheme will enable consumers to recycle their ‘orphan’ vehicles for free

Under the EU’s End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive, when cars and vans weighing up to 3.5-tonnes reach the end of their lives, they must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way – with the process paid for by the manufacturers of the vehicles through schemes such as CarTakeBack.

However, while manufacturers provide this service free of charge, some motorists can face difficulties if the brand is no longer trading and has no parent company. In such situations, the car or van becomes known as an ‘orphan vehicle’.

On behalf of its members, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has therefore partnered with recycling company Autogreen to launch a free take-back service to ensure that all these unclaimed cars and vans can be disposed of and recycled at no cost to the consumer.

Regulation change

The new intiative includes a website on which consumers can get a quote for recycling their old car (click to enlarge)

The new intiative includes a website on which consumers can get a quote for recycling their old car (click to enlarge)

A spokesperson for SMMT said the initiative – to be overseen by SMMT but managed by Autogreen – was primarily triggered by the recent change in EU legislation, which increased the recycling, reuse and recovery target for ELVs from 85% to 95% from 2015 onwards.

According to the spokesperson “this prompted a review of current industry processes and responsibility for end of life vehicles that resulted in SMMT launching this scheme”.

Autogreen has committed to collect these orphan vehicles nationally free-of-charge, which SMMT said would be of particular benefit to owners of orphan vehicles in more remote areas of the UK who can find it hard to get to a recycling point.

It is hoped that the new take-back system “will help ensure that the estimated 700,000 orphan vehicles still on British roads have a route to responsible disposal”.


The CARS trade show (Complete Auto Recycling and Secondary Materials) takes place at Donington Park Race Circuit in Derby from July 13-14 2016. Organised by letsrecycle.com, the show is the premier event for auto recyclers and material processors, featuring indoor exhibitions, working demonstrations, offsite tours and a conference. Click here for more information

Cars are “one of the most efficiently recycled consumer products”, according to SMMT, with manufacturers tasked with recycling and recovering at least 95% of old vehicles.

In addition, less than 2% of waste from vehicle manufacturing plants was sent to landfill in 2015, representing a 90% reduction since 2000.

The most recent figures submitted by the UK government to the EU show the annual recycling and recovery rate for ELVs rose by 0.8% in 2013 to reach 88.9% (see letsrecycle.com story).

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “This new partnership is further evidence of just how seriously UK vehicle manufacturers take their environmental responsibilities. The industry has a strong record, not just on recycling, but on emissions, energy and water usage reduction as a result of huge investments into innovative technologies, production processes and facilities.

“Thanks to this latest initiative, every motorist in Britain can now be assured that when their vehicle reaches the end of its life it will be disposed of in a way that is not just ecologically sound, but cost-free – no matter where they live.”

Related Links:

Autogreen/SMMT car recycling website


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